Classic SEC Football: Billy Cannon Leads LSU over Ole Miss in 1959

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 3, 2012

1959 Heisman Trophy Winner Billy Cannon / AP Photo
1959 Heisman Trophy Winner Billy Cannon / AP Photo

Every Friday, The SEC Blog will feature one classic game from the storied history of SEC football.


When No. 1 LSU hosted No. 3 Ole Miss on Halloween night in 1959, it was viewed as one of the most important games of the season.

The two teams entered with unblemished records, and a shot at the national title hung in the balance on a foggy night in Baton Rogue.

The thick air and wet field hindered the ability of both offenses to move the ball. Ole Miss kicked a first-quarter field goal and then hung on to the 3-0 lead into the fourth quarter.

With just over 10 minutes left to play, LSU running back/safety Billy Cannon fielded a punt on a bounce on the 11-yard line and made history. Cannon ran right, cut through seven Ole Miss defenders and raced down the sideline to give the Tigers the 7-3 lead and keep the Tigers' hopes of a repeat national championship alive.

It was Cannon's "Heisman moment."

Cannon wasn't finished with his heroics on this Halloween night, though.

Ole Miss drove down the field and was on the doorstep of the go-ahead touchdown in the final seconds, but Cannon and Warren Rabb stopped Rebel quarterback Doug Elmore short of the goal line to seal the win for the Tigers.

LSU would lose to Tennessee the following week, ending its shot at a national title. But Cannon's punt return will forever be remembered as one of the greatest plays in SEC history.